This was the golden anniversary of the Big Game, & while we’ve written about Super Bowl connections before, this year’s event was different enough to do its own follow-up. And that’s even taking into consideration that the article about XLIX created enough commentary to require a sequel to respond. Although gridiron games would seem to be as opposite from tabletop games as you could get, there’s plenty of common ground. Here are some lessons from the 50th playing of the Big Game:
When tradition doesn’t make sense, change tradition Historically the NFL has been using Roman Numerals since 1971 to differentiate their title games. But for the Romans, ’50’ is marked as being a single letter ‘L’ which in modern English has a ‘Loser’ connotation. So the league apparently went back to the design board 73 times before deciding on the version unveiled. USE THIS BY: If there’s a tradition- or even a habit- in your D&D group that really doesn’t make sense, either change the tradition/habit or just drop it entirely. For example in our weekly campaign it gradually came to be normal that a 20 on any d20 roll is an automatic success while a 1 is an automatic failure. Even though these absolutes are only meant for hit rolls & even that was wisely overruled in the DMG. Yet because “we’ve always played that way” our group continues to, well, always play that way. Instead we should ditch this tradition in favor of more realistic rules.
Make memorable milestones memorable Before the game, they had all the past MVPs walk out. Since 2 guys Joe Montana and Tom ‘BOOBrady‘ have won 3 times + 3 guys Bart Starr/Terry Bradshaw/Eli Manning have each won 2 times + 1 guy Harvey Martin is deceased = 36 MVPs on the field. Ok technically 35 since Bart Starr is 82 years young & was shown waving happily from home. Which given the $13 beers, $7 bottled waters, & $25 glasses of wine he was probably fine with. Hey, that 2 years of pre-planned security doesn’t pay for itself. Point being, it was a cool ceremony given the golden recurrence. USE THIS BY: when you have a gaming anniversary, celebrate it somehow. Mark the moment. My weekly group recently passed the 15th year marker-traditional gift crystal & wanted to do something. We ended up doing nothing. Insert sad face here. So whether it’s 1 year or 10, do something special for special occasions. I mean the NFL is already thinking of Super Bowl C.
Even if you have money to burn, don’t just set it on fire A big part is watching to watch commercials. This year 30 seconds was $5 million. This is $166,666 per second. Again, that does not count actually making it. And yet try to think about any of the ads you saw. From the ones you remember, say like Alex Baldwin + Dan Marino shilling for Amazon’s Echo, did any of them truly make you want to buy what they were selling? What about those that blurred together, like all car commercials? And then there’s the spots you simply forgot because there were 60+ others, as well as a football game. Its hard not to think a dragon’s trove of treasure wasn’t wasted. USE THIS BY: Coming up with a budget for your gaming dollars then allocate those dollars as wisely as possible. Gaming can become an expensive hobby & too often DMs are the ones who end up footing the bill for everyone’s expenses. So consider passing the proverbial hat. Do heed the warning that if you’re not careful with your purchasing its all too easy to end up with several thousand dollars of dusty books & plastic crack. Instead of getting yet more dice, try to buy those tools that you can actually use. Such as (shameless plug) kick-ass custom character portraits.
The big game has a much bigger half-time for a reason A normal NFL game typically has only a 12 minute half-time. The one for the Super Bowl was 30 minutes, which is just enough time for the world to make fun of the talent show & its lip-syncing musical acts. USE THIS BY: If your sessions go past the 2 hour mark, your group could use a pause somewhere in the middle. But if you’re regularly doing mini-marathons, then some sort of time out is almost mandatory. Certainly breaks can not only help with everyone’s concentration but energy. And if you’re having the climax to the campaign (i.e the Super Bowl) then its ok to then have a longer ‘half time’ both as a rest for you as well as a moment to fully prepare for the final scene(s).
Ok, that’s what we came away with from last night. What do you think of changing gaming traditions, spending $, & taking timeouts? Love/hate any commercials? Let us know in the comments below.